Tuesday, October 6, 2009
The Safe School Czar
In recent private emails, I have been accused of allowing my blog to go "off the tracks". Apparently there are those who think that what I post on this blog are "right wing, hate-filled, conspiratorial, talking points" from Hannity, Limbaugh, and Beck. I admit I occasionally watch and listen to their shows. I also occasionally watch and listen to Rick Sanchez, Larry King, MSNBC, NBC, and CNN. I even read New York Times editorials. What I have concluded from all of this exposure is that this Administration and the left leaning media are lying to me. Simple as that. And that enrages me. I have listened(not read out of context snippets used so often in the media) to Rush Limbaugh since 1989. Not ONCE has he lied to me. The Heritage Foundation does not lie to me. They present the facts and I make my own judgements. What I try to do on this blog is present the facts. And that's what I'm doing now. You be the judge.
From the Heritage Foundation:
ABC News’ Jake Tapper reported on Kevin Jennings, who is informally known as “Safe Schools Czar.” His formal role is as Head of the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools. Clearly this is an administration role that is best suited for someone who has spent a career protecting students and creating safe environments for children. However, in Jennings’ own book “One Teacher in Ten” he recounts a story where a 15 year old student confided in him that he had a sexual relationship with a much older man he had met a bus station bathroom. Jennings only reaction to this news was to ask if the boy used a condom and to exchange smiles with the young boy for the remaining two years of his high school education.
This exchange happened in 1988 while Jennings was a teacher at the Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts. A New York Times article in January, 1988 examined the growing number of cases of child sex abuse in Massachusetts following the enactment of a state law in 1983, making it mandatory to report the abuse. Prosecutors said the influx of cases strongly reflected “both the need for a coordinated statewide response to abuse of children and the failure of some judges and others to treat the sexual abuse of children as a serious crime.”
In fact, in December 1987, Peter K. Gunness, the headmaster of a private school in Massachusetts–Buckingham, Brown and Nichols–was prosecuted for doing exactly what Mr. Jennings did the next year, by failing to report a known incidence of child sex abuse. Prosectors refused to allow this type predatory conduct to not be taken seriously, especially by those in positions of authority at schools.
Back to Mr. Jennings. First, if this man had to be confirmed by the Senate, he would not have been appointed knowing these facts which he spells out himself proudly in speeches and books. By subverting the Senate confirmation process and appointing him to a senior administration position, we are left to learn this background all too late. Secondly, it has been inferred that since Mr. Jennings is himself gay, that this somehow either explains his behavior in 1988 or dismisses the outrage being expressed today by his opponents.
Jennings is the founder and of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). The purpose of GLSEN is to combat the “heterosexism” that “undermines a healthy school climate.” While certain goals of this group’s cause may be open for debate, and others like “No Name Calling Week” are certainly admirable, none of it has anything to do with this situation. Whether Jennings or the abused boy was gay or straight is immaterial except that some may assume it influenced Jennings supposedly sympathetic, but extremely misguided decision not to report the abuse. Any time a 15 year old of any gender is preyed upon by an adult of any gender, it is the responsibility of the community, and especially teachers, to report the incident, and to protect the child, rather than implicitly encourage similar behavior in the future.
Kevin Jennings said as much this week when he apologized for his behavior. He said: “Twenty-one years later I can see how I should have handled the situation differently. I should have asked for more information and consulted legal or medical authorities. Teachers back then had little training and guidance about this kind of thing.”
Does that make it any less illegal? Or our schools any more safe? Wake up, America!